Mystic Camera Club.
I have enjoyed the greatest pleasure the past few days in going over the records of the Mystic Camera Club. It was like living again those days of camera activities in which I had an active part during the many years of its successes. It was the leader in all of the clubs in New England for years. The work of its members ranked high in quality, and many awards came to them in contest and exhibitions throughout New England and the Middle West. On June 4, 1889, a group of ‘camera fiends’ met at the home of George L. Stone on Ashland street, with a view to forming an organization. Among those present were George E. Davenport, E. E. Sweeney, J. H. Wheeler, J. F. Johnson, Charles D. Tucker and George L. Stone of Medford, and Henry S. Fisher and E. L. Jenkins of Everett. The officers elected were: President, George L. Stone; Vice-President, George E. Davenport; Secretary and Treasurer, J. F. Johnson. On May 6, 1890, they adopted a ‘Constitution Governing the Mystic Camera Club.’ For some time the club met at the homes of the members, and then occupied the Legion of Honor Hall. Later they met in Odd Fellows Hall. They had quarters in the Riverside block on Main street, adjoining the Medford Art Club, until July 7, 1896, when they moved to the Pierce block, West Medford. February 1, 1898, they moved to the ell of the Medford Historical building, corner of Salem and Ashland streets, where they remained until the property was sold and vacated by the society. [p. 2] The Club was incorporated March 17, 1891, the incorporators being: J. H. Wheeler, J. F. Wade, A. E. Boardman, Will C. Eddy, B. D. B. Bourne, E. H. Balcom, C. D. Tucker, George L. Stone, George E. Davenport, E. E. Sweeney. Outings were arranged to points of historic and picturesque places and largely attended. Local ground was not neglected by the members, and many photographs of Medford's historical points were made and used for illustrations and lantern slides. Every year the club furnished a set of slides for the New England Lantern Slide Exchange, and for a number of years sent a set of photographs to its various clubs. Two sets of slides furnished by the club made it famous. ‘Paul Revere and his Midnight Ride’ was given its initial showing in the Medford town hall to an audience that taxed its capacity. By special request it was also given in the high school before the students. It was also given before the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics Association and many other societies. Another set was the ‘New England Poets,’ which was a credit to the members in their individual work and to the club itself. Mr. J. Henry Norcross was elected the first honorary member (May 3, 1892) for his many courtesies. It would not be advisable to occupy space with the personnel of the club (which is possible) but it had members from Greater Boston who were foremost among the amateurs. Although not active now, there is a group of the members who still hold the organization. Commercial developing and printing had its share in putting the camera clubs out of existence. The present officers (hold-overs) are: President, John F. Wade; VicePresio-dent, L. E. Shattuck (deceased); Secretary, Everett Scammon; Treasurer, Charles A. Clark; Executive Committee, J. F. W. Ames, E. B. Dennison, Will C. Eddy. Arrangements are being made (1923) for a reunion of [p. 3] all the members and past members that it is possible to reach through the mails. Not dead nor gone before, but such, in brief, is the record of one of Medford's organizations that was famous during its activities and one that the city may well be proud of. While it has ceased to function, its memories will ever remain with all who were associated together in a work that was agreeable and interesting. Would that more organizations could leave behind them so much that was worth while to the community in which they exist.